If that Atlantic article from Ghostbusters were real...

Remember this Atlantic Monthly cover from the mid-movie montage in Ghostbusters? The Awl's Matthew Phelan does, and he's written an entire essay as it might have appeared in the magazine circa late 1984. The results are period accurate, and amazing. (Found via boingboing.)

"Frankly, there's no accepted case law on the undead at the moment," Dr. Spengler added, "but taking into account the inter-dimensional nature of these entities, I would argue that this is largely an immigration issue or a contraband issue depending on the sentience. Technically, INS should be deporting spirits of the deceased, as well as the other apparitions, the demons. We submitted a contract proposal, actually, but they haven't responded."

When this topic arose, I finally summoned the courage to ask the Ghostbusters about their containment unit, which Stantz, Spengler and Venkman led me downstairs to see. The ultimate spooky basement, the bottom floor of the firm's TriBeCa headquaters is an ever-increasing summation of every other haunted basement in the world. Behind a phalanx of cautionary industrial signage, a red-painted steel casing, and an energy-intensive magnetic field, lies every spook, specter, apparition, ghoul and ghost captured by the Ghostbusters. Again: allegedly. Listening to the unnerving hum of the containment unit, I asked again about the ethical dimensions of corralling these seemingly conscious beings indefinitely within the company's high-tech purgatory.

"We all feel kinda bad about the Sedgwick slimer," Stantz told me. "After some of the hauntings we've witnessed in the past month, there's definitely something endearing about a ghost whose only crime is maniacally pigging out."

"He also smelled like onions," according to Venkman. "I'm not letting him out of there."